Neglected Diseases: Under-Funded Research and Insufficient Health Interventions

Neglected diseases: under-funded research and insufficient health interventions Sachs (2001, 2002) describes how health, science and technology are increasingly being identified as the fundamental pillars for the social and economic development. Despite the advancements in scientific and technology, infectious diseases are on the rise and keep affecting the poor and considered marginalized populations of the world. Three key factors are attributed to the burden from a public health point of view. These include the failure to use the tools that are in existence or either they are inadequate and failing. Another reason is that there is insufficient knowledge of the disease. The resulting outcome is the neglected diseases such as HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis (TB) and malaria that the public-private partnerships have started to tackle the situation. The most of these neglected diseases are the sleeping sickness and the Chagas disease that are virtually ignored when it comes to drug development and continue to plague the developing world. However, this reality could otherwise be changed like the example of Tanzania where there has been better use of the interventions already present. Another obstacle is the investment made in the basic research alone which will automatically lead to the development of new tools and their flawless adoption and use by the health systems of poor countries. This vision emphasizes the use of the available knowledge on the gaps but also disregards the difficulty of the health translation of research into policy and its practicality. There are usually complex relationships between the fundamental science and technological innovations. Stokes (1997) argues that the low priority that is given to the public health and research as pertains to health, by most disease endemic countries worsens the situations when they do the research themselves. Infectious diseases cause a lot of threats that the possibilities of singling out a specific strain is next to impossible. Instead of selecting the killer disease, we should also take into consideration of the biological enemies. We should put in mind the possible voluntary spread of infections by bioterrorism and the biological warfare. Henderson (1998) explains that although Ebola with wings is still a hypothesis, we should not forget that the pandemic of influenza is permanently on the horizon and that bioterrorism has already killed people. The postponing of the destruction of the last strains of the smallpox virus has resulted in the spending millions of dollars, in the campaign against a disease that was officially certified as having been eradicated in 1979 is a sad outcome. The proportion of military expenditure used to support the purchase of arms and the equipping militia has had an increase in GDP from 0% to 10% in areas such as Iceland and Costa Rica. It is higher in other sectors such as Eritrea having 22.9%, Angola with 21.2% while others have been excluded due to inconceivable health and education data. The component health share on the GDP continues to shrink considerably when compared to education. In simpler terms, military-oriented governments are more prone to finance a war and other armed skirmishes at the expense of the health structures and services of their population. Charitable Organization: World Health Organization The world health organization is a dedicated agency of the United Nations concerned with the public health on an international scope. It was created in 1948 and is a member of the United Nations Development Group. The world health assembly convened in July 1948 and settled at the creation of the World Health Organization to sign 61 countries. The current priorities of the WHO (world Health organization) include all communicable diseases in particular focusing on HIV/AIDS, Ebola, Malaria, and Tuberculosis. It is tasked with mitigating their effects, sexual reproduction, health and development, food security, aging and nutrition, once all these are accomplished; they compile and develop reports and publications to network. WHO is responsible for the WHO health report which is a leading international paper on the health, the worldwide World health survey and the World Health Day. The proposed budget for the 2014/2015 is at US$3.98 billion of which about US$0.93 billion is to be provided by the member states. Cassels (2002) When any disaster happens, WHO is tasked with the objective of reducing any adverse consequences the catastrophe may have on the world health and its social and economic implications. The WHO has successfully announced the extraordinary spread of the disease polio on 5 May 2014. The outbreaks happened in Asia, Africa, and Middle East. On 8, August 2014, WHO discovered the Ebola outbreak and declared it a public health emergency as they believe it started in Guinea and found its way to subsequent countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone. They consider the situation in West Africa severe. Shimkin (2014) The legislative and supreme body of the World Health Organization is the World Health Assembly, which is based in Geneva. Their annual meetings are usually in may, and it is the one responsible for appointing the director general every five years. On a number of occasions, it votes on the policies and the possible sources of finance for WHO including their budgets. It reviews the reports made by the Executive Board and decides where there is a need for further evaluation. The Assembly elects a qualified team in the field of health, notably 34 members, to the Executive Board for a period of three years. The primary functions of this committee are to implement the policies the assembly puts in place and to facilitate its work. In the recent years, the work the WHO has been doing has been on the increase and has been involved in collaboration with different external bodies. In 2002, the total number of NGOs who had partnerships with the World Health Organization was 473. In addition to, there were 189 partnerships with international non-governmental organization in formal official relations while the rest were considered to be informal in character. Shimkin (2014) Investment Funds: Why the World Health Organization Doesn’t Have Enough Funds The WHO was in deep financial trouble in 2012 with a deficit of 300 million USD. The World health assembly voted for major budgetary reforms, as a result. The agency has taken into action pruning and prioritizing their work. However, the $3.98 billion budget that was approved by the Assembly for 2014–15 shows zero growth on the $3.96-billion budget for 2012–13. These numbers are in line with the flat lining of the worldwide spending on global health. It would be imperative to notice that the government support for WHO has leveled off in the recent years and fails to keep up with the rising needs. Their budget is now majorly funded by the member countries. The Congressional Research service formulated a report that showed how US funding for the global health programs was increasing steadily until 2011 and then suffered a blow and started declining for the first time. The funding from US in 2010 totaled to $280 million in support of WHO’s general fund. Two years later, according to documents from the WHO, Washington had reduced the contribution 23% to $215 million. The drop in the US funding was as a result of the overall global trend. The financial crisis and their long term effect had set in. Many members started to replace their stimulus packages with the strict budgets and cutbacks on their initial commitment to the World Health Organization. Declain (2013) WHO had proposed a budget in 2010 which greatly exceeded the money inflow and thus faced with reduced income. They had to scale back its budget to around $3.96 billion total which was 20% less than what the leaders initially wished for at the time. The result was the slashing of 300 jobs at the Swiss headquarters. The US again in 2013, significantly reduced their contributions dropping its funding to $180 million. The 2014/15 budget which was approved in May 2013 has held steady at about $3.97 billion. The budget has also funded half of the health crises funding which caters for $228 million. About two-thirds of the overall budget for the World Health Organization is earmarked by donors including the United States for individual projects like the anti-Malaria or HIV/AIDS programs. Consequently, a substantial portion of the organization’s funds are off limits for the Ebola Effort. Alex (2014) References Cassels A: “Bioterrorism becoming too dominant on public health agenda? Can. Med. Assoc, 2002 Fenner F., Henderson D.A: “Smallpox and its eradication.” WHO, Geneva, Switzerland, (1988) Shimkin, Michael B: “The World Health Organization”, Science (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 2014). Sachs J.D: “Macroeconomics and Health: Investing in Health for Economic Development. Report of the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health, 2001 Sachs J.: “The essential ingredient.” (2002) Stokes D.E.: “Pasteur’s Quadrant: Basic Science and Technological Innovation.” The Brookings Institution, Washington DC, USA, (1997) Henderson D.A: “The looming threat of bioterrorism. Science,” (1999) Declain Buttler: “World Health Agency Gets a Grip on Its Budget”, 2013 Alex Park: “Why the World Health Organization Doesn’t Have Enough Funds to Fight Ebola”, 2014.

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